To fear or not to fear?

On Mondays, we fast and pray for God to raise up men and women who increasingly trust Him with their hearts, lives and relationships, and for marriage to be given to those who desire it.

Do you ever have butterflies find your stomach without knowingly luring them in?

An incredible 2014 was coming to a close, a year filled with adventure and God’s faithfulness, but I found myself gripped with pangs of fear at the end of it. Why was fear jumping into my thoughts when I had experienced a “mountaintop-high” of a year? I felt stuck. Trapped in singleness. Grounded like a teenager in my house without a chance of moving to a home with a real kitchen in the burbs. Fear was playing out a scene of almost certain doom and financial hardship. My present realities were overshadowing the monuments of God’s provision and faithfulness constructed through the years. I know better than to dwell on fear, but the butterflies persisted in making their presence known.

I’ve read the story of Elijah in 1 Kings. It has always perplexed me how he could pray down fire from heaven and watch God consume a water-logged altar in the front of Baal worshippers, and then be fleeing in fear in the next chapter. How could he not trust God more than he feared Jezebel?

My fear and wrong thinking were brought to light one morning while listening to a podcast of a Christmas Eve message. The pastor pointed out that the entire purpose of the gospel is about Jesus coming to relieve our fear. God chose to send angels to visit shepherds on a remote hill with sheep to announce the birth of the Savior. The message to the shepherds was “Fear not! There is a baby wrapped in cloth! ” Jesus came to remove our fear!

Sometimes my deluded thoughts lead me to think the message should be “Fear not, when I send you a man!” Because obviously then I’ll feel secure and have no cause for fear. How incorrect is that line of thinking? I asked my sister-in-law, Tabitha, to weigh in on the fear issue from her perspective. She married my brother practically the day after her college graduation, so our daily lives are completely different, yet I know many of our heart struggles are similar.

Granted, when I said “I do” and our family grew from 2 to 6 over the years, certain fears I had as a single woman subsided. Being a homeschooling family, there is constant activity in our home, so I do not fear silence and loneliness on a daily basis; however, one fear that I have personally always struggled with, and has been amplified by our growing family, is the fear of failure. If I fail now, at anything, the effects of my failure will be felt and experienced by my whole family. And, since this mother hen wants to take care of her brood, my list of fears have grown to include things I fear for my husband and children.

God has helped me recognize and navigate my own journey with fear. For the past two years, I have started my year with honing in on one word that I strive to live by, and every decision I make, thought I think, and word I say are filtered through that word and its profound meaning in my life. Last year, the word was obedience. Because of that word and the overwhelmingly passionate pursuit of its deeply personal meaning, I obeyed the Lord and accomplished something that He had been prompting me to do for years.

This year, my word is brave. Really, it is a continuation of the obedient life I am striving for in Christ. However, until I recognize my fears, face them head-on with my Savior, and realize that He has already won the victory, I will never be truly free of fear. Paul Baloche, in his song, Hosanna, sings, “In Your Presence all our fears are washed away.” Only in the presence of His perfect love can we be truly fearless. His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). He makes us brave…single, married, divorced, or widowed. We all have fears. The strength and faith to face them isn’t found in our status, but rather our identity in Christ. Amanda Cook and Bethel Music sing beautifully the revelation both Michelle and I have had in light of our fears,

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

Putting fear in its place!
Michelle & Tabitha

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4 Responses to To fear or not to fear?

  1. lwinzarni says:

    I’m so encouraged reading this post. Thank you!

  2. Rachel says:

    I have also been experiencing a lot of fear in the last few weeks thinking about being in my mid thirties and single. This was such good timing! God used it to encourage my heart. Thank you!

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